LIMESTONE, Maine — After a nearly two week cleanup effort, officials from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection said Friday that water quality in a stream that was contaminated by more than a million gallons of untreated wastewater last month has returned to normal levels.
Greenlaw Stream is now safe for public access, Samantha Depoy-Warren, spokeswoman for the Maine DEP and its director of education and outreach, said Friday.
The sewage spill was discovered twelve days ago.
Vandals damaged the 15-inch sewer line, which connects the eastern half of the Loring Commerce Centre to the Greater Limestone Utilities District, by throwing basketball-size rocks and a traffic cone down a manhole. The material made its way through the pipe and caused the rupture and leak.
The discharge likely occurred over the past several weeks before it was discovered, according to the DEP.
Cleanup and recovery of the waste in the wetlands was carried out by DEP staff in partnership with employees from the Greater Limestone Utilities District and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.
Water samples taken by department scientists last week at the stream, which is popular for fishing and fiddlehead picking this time of year, showed levels of E. coli nearly as high as those typically found in raw wastewater.
Maine DEP staff will be removing the contamination warning signs they’d posted at access points for the stream.